Movie review: Parts of the Heart takes itself too seriously

Parts of the Heart is heartfelt and dedicated to a deceased man named Peter. Clearly loved by the filmmaker, Peter is remembered or re-imagined in eight episodes that chronicle his life. It is a touching tribute that gets boring quickly.

The first three episodes are fascinating.  In the first we see Peter, always played by a different actor wearing his trademark glasses, as a young cadet playing with a childhood friend and steals a kiss when.  In episode two, the young teenagers play video games and awkwardly and with hope admit their love for each other. In the third, the now Goth Peter is reeling from the suicide of his lover.

Peter becomes sullen and numb – for the rest of his life – with five more episodes to go; as a club kid his friends keep telling him to stop being so miserable and as a young adult we see him smoke a cigarette looking out a window introspectively, for the entire length of the cigarette.

The film quickly starts taking itself way to seriously, every moment became meditative, conversations become circuitous with long pauses and at one point we even watch as an older Peter slowly picks out a sweater.

Sunny Soon and Daud Sumolang in a scene from Parts of the Heart.
Sunny Soon and Daud Sumolang in a scene from Parts of the Heart.

The director may have been trying for contemplative but it just becomes tedious. Almost all the shots are of Peter and someone sitting in a café or apartment talking, with gaps of silence, usually about how unhappy or unfulfilled Peter is. As Peter gets older he talks to other lost people. Even the rooms they are in are bland and empty of art or style.

While the filmmaker may have loved his deceased friend so much to make this movie, ultimately it was disappointing and sad that we never learn why.

Parts of the Heart

Paul Augusta | Indonesia | 90 minutes | Fri. Oct 5, 1:30 pm, Cinémathèque.  Visit http://www.viff.org for tickets and information.

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